A couple of weeks ago I did my first post about this research I am really excited about at the moment. I would like to explore DIY culture and information seeking. Today I want to tell you a little story that I have been telling many of my friends in order to explain why this research is so important to me.
This is a true story that I experienced recently but I don’t want to name any names because I feel that it is a story that could have occurred in many yarn shops, anywhere in the world. I was with a friend of mine who I had promised to teach how to knit socks using the methods I love and promote through the Super Sock Calculator. In order to knit these socks two at a time from the toe up, she needed sock yarn and circular needles. We went to a yarn shop, found the yarn she wanted and asked the shop owner for some circular needles. The shop owner asks if my friend is knitting socks, since she had bought sock yarn. My friend replies that she is and the shop owner continues to tell us that she can’t do this with circular needles and that she should buy a pack of double pointed sock needles instead. I then pull out a pair of socks I am working on to show the shop owner that you can indeed knit socks on circular needles. Personally I think that this is a much faster and easier method (hence the special calculator I made for it).
The point of the story is not to call out the shop owner as I am sure she has been happily knitting socks with sock needles for many years. The point of the story for me is how we as knitters find information. If all the tips and tricks we see are from local yarn shops (and I adore local yarn shops) and we don’t have any access to networks such as Ravelry, how does that affect our knitting experience.
I know that my own mother-in-law has had some very frustrating experiences with knitting patterns bought in her local yarn shop. She was amazed when she first discovered Ravelry and found that she could see how others had knit a certain pattern with a yarn she wanted to buy. Before that she has spent a lot of money buying one pattern after the other, begun knitting and then ended up frogging all her work because she didn’t like how it looked.
I am not saying that knitters who don’t have access to the internet and only use their local yarn shops are missing out as such. I just think it would be very interesting to see how their knitting experience differs from those knitters who use online knitting networks to get new inspiration and seek information.
So that’s basically the goal of this project, to examine to what degree knitters and other DIY people use the internet to seek information and how this affects their experience of DIY.